An action plan is being drawn up to set Malvern Hills District on the path to becoming carbon neutral after a climate emergency was declared by councillors.

At a Council meeting on Tuesday (23 July) councillors backed a motion put forward by Cllr John Raine, responsible for environmental services on Malvern Hills District Council, to move as quickly as possible to net zero carbon emissions across the district.

The council’s Environment Policy Development Panel has been tasked with drawing up a comprehensive and fully costed action plan to be approved by Council before the end of March 2020. They will also set out a timetable to achieve the target by.

As well as seeking to reduce carbon emissions generated by the council’s own activities, the plan will also look at what can be done to support businesses and inspire residents to go carbon neutral too.

Officers and councillors will be working with other organisations including Worcestershire County Council, the Midland Energy Hub and other councils across the country to develop the plan.

Councillors also agreed at the meeting to lobby national government for further action to support the efforts of local government.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in October 2018 in order to avoid dangerous climate breakdown, global carbon emissions needed to be halved by 2030 and reduced to zero by 2050.

Cllr John Raine said: “Climate change is the most serious crisis facing humanity and as a council we need to take a lead for our communities in tackling this issue. The panel will work as quickly as possible to develop a set of proposals that are affordable and deliverable within the fastest possible timeframe.

“We’re not going to set any targets at this stage but we will aim to be carbon neutral as fast as possible, hopefully by 2030.”

Cllr Sarah Rouse, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, added: “I’m grateful to councillors of all parties who unanimously backed this motion. When it comes to tackling climate change we are united as one and will work together to ensure this council, our residents and businesses play their part in addressing this serious issue.”